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Vija Celmins

Comet

1992, Medium: Linocut

1992

Medium: Linocut

Portfolio: Skowhegan Suite

Sheet size: 20 9/16 x 22 13/16 inches

Frame dimensions: 21 15/16 x 24 3/16 inches

Printer: Oberon Press, New York

Publisher: The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine

Edition size: 80 + proofs

Catalogue reference: MMA 31

Signed and numbered in pencil, lower margin

 

$45,000

1992, Medium: Linocut

1992

Medium: Linocut

Portfolio: Skowhegan Suite

Sheet size: 20 9/16 x 22 13/16 inches

Frame dimensions: 21 15/16 x 24 3/16 inches

Printer: Oberon Press, New York

Publisher: The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine

Edition size: 80 + proofs

Catalogue reference: MMA 31

Signed and numbered in pencil, lower margin

 

$45,000

Description

Vija Celmins’s compositions of nature—oceans, the cosmos, deserts, and skies—are unusual landscapes rendered in meticulous detail. The works are timeless depictions of nature, but thoroughly modern in their execution. The simple color palettes of her works are at once accurate depictions of their subjects and bold statements in simplicity.
Born in Riga, Latvia in 1938, Celmins grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana where she studied at the John Herron School of Art. Later she studied at Yale and UCLA and lived and worked in Venice Beach until she moved to New York in 1981, following an invitation to teach at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. She made this work, Comet, for its fundraising album Skowhegan Portfolio, 1992, at Manhattan’s Oberon Press.

Comet is an example of the way the artist utilizes negative space to render her infinite compositions. Carving the comet and stars from the linoleum sheet, the still raised surface was inked so that once printed it would read as deep, black space. The Fabriano Tiepolo paper showing through uninked areas of the printing matrix creates the stars and comet.

Impressions of Comet are owned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Fogg Art Museum. The Fogg impression is a variation in which the comet’s tail is shortened with ink wash. At architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House the 2018 exhibition Personal Effect included Comet with pride of place at the entrance. Other works by Vija Celmins are in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The National Gallery of Art, DC, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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